Former Iowa Speedway Winner Does It Big in “Magic City”
The talented drivers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series gathered in South Florida to crown a champion on Nov. 17, but it was a former Iowa Speedway winner who kicked off Championship Weekend in style.
When the checkered flag waved following the Ford EcoBoost 200, Chase Briscoe, celebrated his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory while runner-up, Christopher Bell, relished in his first NASCAR championship with dual burnouts on the Homestead-Miami Speedway frontstretch.
In a race that nearly ran caution-free except for the planned breaks after the first and second stages, Briscoe, the polesitter, passed Ben Rhodes for the lead on Lap 96 of 134 and pulled away to beat Bell to the finish line by 2.887 seconds, after Rhodes ran out of gas on Lap 129.
In addition to the race win, Briscoe also claimed the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, after his 23rd start in the series. Driving for Brad Keselowski Racing, the Mitchell, Indiana native ended the season in storybook fashion by collecting his career-first win, recording his 10th top five of 2017 and taking home the last trophy for BKR, which is closing its doors at the end of the season. Briscoe hasn’t announced plans for next year.
“This is a long time coming,” said Briscoe. “So proud of all these guys. To know that they’re not going to have a job next year, and we continued to bring really good trucks even though we were outside the playoffs, such a testament to how good these Brad Keselowski guys are.
“I know two years ago I was sleeping on couches, and now to be a winner in NASCAR. I wish we were in the final four [Championship 4]. I felt like we could have been, but that’s part of the circumstances.”
In 2016, Briscoe, driving for Cunningham Motorsports, ran away with the ARCA Racing Series ABC Supply Co. 150 presented by Casey’s General Store in the final laps at Iowa Speedway en route to the ARCA championship.
For Brad Keselowski, Briscoe’s victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway wasn’t about him as an owner, but the people he hired that made BKR’s seven full-time seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a success.
“It always feels good to go out on a high note, but it’s not about me, it’s about these guys,” said Keselowski. “Chase Briscoe drove a heck of a race. He deserves a lot of credit. He should have had a few more wins this year, but a few little things didn’t go his way and we probably let him down there at Talladega to not have a shot at the title.”
“He proved today that he’s a worthy competitor and a heck of a race car driver. I’m looking at him and thinking he’s got a big bright future ahead of him, as well as Austin Cindric. Man, I’m just happy to have played a role in helping them out along the way.”
On the strength of six victories in 20 ARCA starts including his victory at Iowa Speedway in 2016, Briscoe is further proof that Stars Are Made Here. With a strong endorsement from Ford Performance executives, Briscoe certainly seems poised to make the jump into the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018.
He will run a partial schedule for Roush Fenway Racing in 2018, but Ford Performance will round out his schedule with a variety of disciplines to keep him sharp. In addition to his part-time slate behind the wheel of the RFR No. 90, he will also compete in at least one NASCAR XFINITY Series race for Biagi-DenBeste Racing in the No. 98.
Briscoe is also scheduled to run select Mustang GT4 races in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, in addition to select Mustang events in the Trans-Am Series TA2 class.
Briscoe will share the NASCAR XFINITY Series ride with his former BKR teammate Cindric and RFR development driver Ty Majeski. Briscoe credits Ford Performance with elevating his learning curve.
“It’s huge to have manufacturer support,” Briscoe said. “To me, they really control everybody’s destiny in the sport. To have Ford behind me is awesome. It’s a blessing. For me, growing up, I never thought I’d get a chance in a stock car. Looking back at it, two years ago, making my first start and now being in the Xfinity Series and signed by Ford, it’s just crazy to think about.”
Briscoe’s ability, potential and persistence will eventually shine through as they did in the ARCA Racing Series, but the most remarkable note about Briscoe is that he only competed in five stock car races before 2016, as he honed his skills in the Indiana sprint car scene before turning his attention to NASCAR.